Two California Assembly Bills Could Stiffle Republican Control of San Diego

California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills Thursday that will give San Diego County voters greater control in county elections.

AB 801 restructures the county’s Independent Redistricting Commission by creating a representative 14-member commission that is not solely comprised of retired judges like the current commission’s structure requires. It will now be a bipartisan panel representing all 5 supervisorial districts.

The bill will affect the redistricting process after the 2020 decennial census, and will impact the lines drawn for the 2022 election cycle.

The other bill, AB 901, allows San Diego voters to amend the county charter to require all San Diego County elections to have a November election, even if a candidate gets over 50 percent of the vote in the June primary. This would ensure that all county elections are decided when the greatest number of voters participate.

Voter turnout typically doubles in November, when compared to the primary turnout in June.

Here are some stats offered by the Independent Voter Project:

  • 2012 voter turnout – 37.43% in the primary, 76.98% in the general election
  • 2014 voter turnout – 27.23% in the primary, 44.76% in the general election
  • 2016 voter turnout – 50.94% in the primary, 81.48% in the general election

AB 801 and 901 were supported by the Independent Voter Project. The group also backed successful election reform initiatives for the City of San Diego in 2016 (Measures K & L) to require that all city elections have a November election and city ballot initiatives must appear on the November ballot. This means San Diego voters will make the greatest decisions affecting their city when the most voters participate.

Now, voters have an opportunity to do the same at the county level. A ballot initiative to amend the city charter to require November elections could go before voters as early as next year.